The Early Stages of Hardy’s Fiction
A novelist of my acquaintance, talking about biographies of Hardy, said that what he really wanted to know about the man was how he went about writing. All writers, he said, in a generalisation that suited his argument, are more or less unpleasant in their personal lives, knowledge of which unpleasantness doesn’t help much in coming to terms with their work. What does, he continued, is their approach to writing; what sort of notes they make, how many drafts, whether they work in fits and starts or for fixed periods each day, whether they use pencil or pen, whether they use handmade paper or scraps of advertisements and old envelopes. Trollope, he said, is revealed most clearly as a writer in his Autobiography when he describes his working methods. All the major preoccupations of his fiction might be inferred from that description. Or there is the story of the printer’s lad waiting desperately in Thackeray’s hall for the next instalment of Vanity Fair — again how well that captures the improvisatory brilliance of the man.
KeywordsDraft Manuscript Monthly Magazine York Public Library Authentic Ring French Diligence
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